Internship provided new, valuable experience for Bellisario College student

August 16, 2018

(Editor's note: This is the 13th in a series of stories about students in the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications completing summer internships.)

Going into her senior year of high school, Nina Trach had the opportunity to serve as a teen reporter for the Washington Post at the Democratic National Convention. She enjoyed the experience and had the chance to interview high-up people while working with Post reporters and editors.

But, what she found even more interesting than the writing and reporting was the job of the woman who worked for MullenLowe, the PR firm who put the opportunity together.

“I thought bringing the Washington Post together with CSX, the transportation company that was the sponsor for it, was really, really exciting. CSX using this almost philanthropic opportunity for teens to promote their own business but also engage the community was, I thought, a really cool idea,” Trach said.

That led her to choosing her major, advertising/public relations. Trach, a sophomore in the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications, spent her summer as a marketing intern for the medical devices team with NSF International Health Sciences.

“While I hadn’t really ever thought I’d be working for a health sciences company, I said ‘Why not?’” Trach said. “When I got the position, I kind of went for it and I’m glad I did because it was definitely a learning experience.”

NSF International, formerly known as the National Sanitation Foundation, is a public health and safety organization that deals with the development of public health standards and certification programs that help protect the world’s food, water, consumer products and environment. The organization has more than 60 global locations.

Health Sciences is mostly comprised of medical devices and pharma biotech. The branch works on a global scale and performs regulatory consulting and training services, primarily for medical device manufacturers. Trach, a native of South Brunswick, New Jersey, worked 40 hours per week.

“NSF International was very fortunate to have Nina serve as a 2018 summer intern in our Washington, D.C. office,” said Heather Howell, executive vice president of medical device education and communication services for NSF International Medical Devices. “Nina’s recent Penn State coursework and academic experience, coupled with her willingness to tackle new challenges, made her a valuable team member.  Nina enthusiastically accepted assignments and completed tasks very quickly, contributing greatly to our marketing goals this year. Nina’s calm and mature approach to work assignments often made me forget she was a temporary intern and wish the summer wouldn’t end.”

For Trach, the opportunity was especially valuable because she was the only one out of fewer than 20 employees in the D.C. office that focused on marketing. It was also an opportunity for her to work in a field that she hadn’t had experience in before. In her first week, she mostly spent time learning about the industry.

Once she got deeper into the internship, she had the chance to get more involved with projects. Some of her work this summer included working on marketing materials for a “Meet Our Experts” marketing resource, working with client lists, and revamping a website.

But her favorite part, other than gaining valuable experience in a unique field, was the people who work there and how helpful they were. The internship provided valuable networking opportunities for Trach.

“Hearing about how the communications industry does tie into everyone’s jobs there, whether they realize it or not, was really interesting,” Trach said. “These connections are incredibly important for the future.”

With three years of college still remaining, Trach isn’t 100 percent sure about her dream job. One thing that she is sure of, though, is that this summer she is expanding her expertise, which she’s hoping will help make her more valuable to prospective employers in the future.

“I’m really looking forward to, in the future and as I’m looking for more internships, and primarily as I’m looking for a career when I graduate Penn State, I’m really looking forward to being able to use my new skills and maybe even work in a field that I hadn’t imagined before. Even just having a base background on things like regulations and even just working for an international company has been huge for me. They are really valuable skills to have because I never know when they will come in handy or where I’ll end up down the line.

“That’s the great thing about internships, they are an opportunity to learn outside the classroom. I feel like this one was really that to the extreme.”

Last Updated August 17, 2018